Seoul press cautiously welcome North Korea talks offer

Russian Federation on Wednesday called the recent US sanctions on Pyongyang over its alleged assassination of top leader Kim Jong Un's half-brother "illegitimate".

India today imposed fresh restrictions on trade with North Korea in line with the restrictions imposed by the United Nations, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said.

The United States has determined North Korea used a banned chemical weapon to assassinate the half brother of leader Kim Jong-un in Malaysia past year, with the claim coming just hours after Pyongyang signalled it was willing to give up its nuclear weapons.

US President Donald Trump Tuesday, March 6, welcomed North Korea's breakthrough offer of denuclearization talks as positive - and apparently honest - saying the standoff over Pyongyang's weapons drive would not be allowed to "fester".

"He also made an exchange of in-depth views on the issues for easing the acute military tensions on the Korean Peninsula and activating the versatile dialogue, contact, cooperation and exchange", the report said.

It was announced at a press briefing at the residence of the South Korean president that the parties had reached an agreement on a meeting between the leaders of the two Koreas in April. "The rhetoric coming out of the United States is that unless North Korea takes some meaningful steps toward complete verifiable and irreversible denuclearization, there's not going to be an agreement or negotiation of any kind", Kim said.

"We must expect North Korea to find ways to circumvent any deal", the Malden Democrat said, "so we need to maintain pressure, including by cutting off North Korea's access to crude oil and remaining sources of revenue". The US's special envoy on the Korean peninsula, Joseph Yun, said last week he was quitting.

Pyongyang has protested South Korea-U.S. joint military drills as a rehearsal of war. North and South Korea are technically still at war because their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. Six-party talks, grouping the two Koreas, Russia, China, Japan and the USA, and offering the North security and economic benefits in exchange for denuclearization, broke down nearly a decade ago.

He also voiced concern that North Korea leader Kim Jong Un "holds the steering wheel of inter-Korean relations".

"If this scenario unfolds, South Korea and the global community would again play into the North's hands", it said in an editorial headlined: "Are we going to end the nuclear hostage situation or be cheated again?"

The U.S. and its allies have backed the policy with "high pressure" coercive diplomacy featuring ever-harsher economic sanctions and very potent military "shows of force".

China advised the Trump administration to abandon its "fantasy" of defeating North Korea's dictator Kim Jong Un with sanctions and insisted that negotiations were the only way to diffuse the nuclear weapons dispute.

Chung said North Korea "made it clear that it won't resume strategic provocations like additional nuclear tests or test-launches of ballistic missiles" while such talks are underway. But then again, if it proves at all possible, there's few better placed than "good cop" Moon - a man with deep emotional and intellectual connections to the North - to eke the goods out of Kim.

Kim has made atomic weapons a core part of North Korea's political identity.

Pyongyang has since continued its wea pons drive, accelerating it after Kim inherited power in 2011 from his father Kim Jong Il.

  • Zachary Reyes